Since her debut in 2004, Nicole Henry has captivated audiences while establishing herself as one of the jazz world's most acclaimed vocalists. Her expressive, soulful voice and uplifting energy has earned her three top 10 albums along with international accolades from Moscow to Madrid. Adding to her vocal talents, Nicole’s beauty and on-stage rapport, combining confidence, sincerity and a touch of sass, have beguiled fans in over 15 countries.
On her sixth album So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live, Henry demonstrates her gift for sublime interpretation as well as her love for the emotionally tinged soul, pop and rock songs that were staples of the 1970’s. The 13-track live album, which was recorded at Henry’s sold-out performances at Feinstein’s in NYC in May 2012, showcases her soulful, inspired interpretations of some of her favorite classic hits of the decade from iconic artists including Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Commodores and Gladys Knight.
“I really connected with the music of the 70’s-all those incredible grooves and great lyrics that conveyed hope and love and being free,” comments Henry. “Growing up I can remember my parents listening to lots of soul and pop music, and so many of those songs just gave me a great feeling of happiness. The artists of that time were true craftsmen and their music had such a broad sound, accessible by people of all races- that’s the kind of music I loved-no definitions! I wanted to revisit that time and those emotions and share them with my fans.”
Featured tracks on the album include the title track, Brenda Russell’s ‘So Good, So Right,’ which Henry loves for the “simplicity of the adjectives Good and Right and how, in this song, "SO" completely explains that feeling of inexplicable perfection of that moment. It just IS.” Henry grew up on Aretha Franklin’s music so when album producer Matt Pierson recommended to her the song ‘Spirit in the Dark,’ from Franklin’s 1970 album, she knew she had to cover it. “I grew up listening to Aretha's 1972 live gospel album Amazing Grace- as far as I'm concerned, everything Aretha sings is gospel,” says Henry. “This song reminds people to be free, look within themselves, and lose control when you need to – a revival of spirit.” Other tracks include the great Bill Withers 1972 classic ‘Use Me,’ which Henry says “shows just how funky he was, and the lyrics show how direct his writing could be. The song’s meaning is obvious…GOOD LOVING goes a long way!”
Henry also shines on tracks such as Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’ where, as Henry explains, “Joni Mitchell's whimsical melody, combined with her sad lyrics, always throws me for a curve on the last verse,” and Stealers Wheel’s raucous ‘Stuck in the Middle,’ where Henry showcases her signature attitude. So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live closes with Fleetwood Mac’s iconic ‘Landslide,’ a beautiful song Henry interprets to be about “learning to love, growing up, accepting one's past sacrifices, and making decisions about where you’re going.”
Growing up in a musical family in Bucks County, PA, Henry immersed herself in the arts early on, singing in school and church, and studying cello and ballet. After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications and Theatre, Henry launched a successful acting career, appearing in commercial roles as well as a series of voiceover assignments. But she directed her strongest passion toward the development of her full-time singing career which was quickly rewarded in her present hometown, when the Miami New Times named Henry “Best Solo Musician 2002.”
Henry’s 2004 debut CD release, The Nearness of You, won considerable attention from audiences and critics in the U.S. and in Japan, where they named Henry Best New Jazz Artist of 2004. The following year, Henry’s Teach Me Tonight reached #1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan's Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005. 2008's The Very Thought of You substantially expanded her American audience, reaching #7 on Billboard's jazz chart. 2011’s Embraceable, a slight departure from her prior recording, reached the top 20 on jazz and smooth jazz radio charts and was a creative triumph for Henry, increasing her repertoire of originals, and further established her as a peerless interpreter of jazz, and pop standards, transcending genre boundaries.
Nicole Henry prefers to play with a 6 piece band to include; vocals, piano, upright bass, drums, guitar and percussion. She can play as small as a quartet (vocals, piano, bass, drums) and also has a repertoire for a 10-piece band and a big band (17-pieces).
So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live - Banister Records (2013)
The Nearness of You - Banister Records (2004)
Teach Me Tonight - Venus Records (2005)
The Very Thought of You - Banister Records (2008)
Embraceable - ArtistShare (2011)
Set for the Season: Live in Japan - Banister Records (2011)
Nicole Henry featured in Ocean Drive Magazine
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Ocean Drive reaches out to Miami-based Nicole Henry for their 2012 December issue to discuss her car...Ocean Drive reaches out to Miami-based Nicole Henry for their 2012 December issue to discuss her career, upcoming performances, and to highlight her upcoming album "So Good, So Right" being released late January.
NY Daily News backstage with Nicole, Vanessa Williams, and Nile Rodgers after Joe's Pub
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Nicole's debut performance at NYC's Joe's Pub was a SOLD OUT success! The crowd was full of fans and...Nicole's debut performance at NYC's Joe's Pub was a SOLD OUT success! The crowd was full of fans and VIPS. The New York Daily news featured this photo of artist/producer Nile Rodgers, Nicole, and and actress Vanessa Williams catching up after the show. Also in attendance were couture fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka; Father Edward Beck of ABC's Family Channel's The Sunday Mass, and Tasha Marbury from VH1's Basketball Wives.
Love Songs with Power, Not Heartache
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By STEPHEN HOLDEN Published: February 14, 2010 Although jazz and pop-soul singing have always bee...By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Published: February 14, 2010
Although jazz and pop-soul singing have always been stylistic first cousins, the line between them has never been fuzzier than it is today. In the voice of Nicole Henry, the gifted Florida singer who during the past year has become one of the top attractions at the Metropolitan Room, the two are practically synonymous.
Ms. Henry, who gave a Valentine’s weekend performance on Saturday to a packed house at the club, tilts a little more toward jazz. Her singing is free of the flowery melismas that became a ubiquitous pop cliché in the 1990s and threatened to turn singing into a mindless gymnastic exercise. Her sound is also devoid of the kind of scat improvisations that many ambitious jazz singers unfortunately feel obligated to shoehorn into their performances to certify a usually bogus kinship with Ella Fitzgerald.
That doesn’t mean that Ms. Henry is a by-the-book interpreter. She phrases songs with a freewheeling sense of play that never loses sight of the subject at hand. At the same time she holds back the force of her tart-timbered voice until the right dramatic moment to unleash its considerable power.
Accompanied by Helen Sung on piano, Richie Goods on bass and Alvester Garnett on drums, Ms. Henry applied her saucy personal stamp to material that ran from Cole Porter (“It’s All Right With Me”) to Leiber and Stoller (“Love Potion Number 9”). Beginning with the opening number, “You’d Better Love Me,” delivered as a friendly threat, Ms. Henry announced herself as forthright woman who has no problem standing up for herself. The time-honored archetype of the female jazz torch singer as a masochistic sufferer was absent.
Attached to a slinky “Fever” bass line, the old Louis Jordan song, “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” was adroitly segued into “Fever,” then given a coda, “Hit the Road, Jack,” that answered the question. Her sexy “That Old Black Magic” was fortified by an understated Afro-Cuban groove. The inevitable “My Funny Valentine,” which Chaka Khan’s influential interpretation turned into a flamboyant vocal showpiece, was restored to its previous incarnation as a tender statement of devotion. Only at the very end did Ms. Henry raise her voice to draw out the word “stay” as an impassioned plea.
Billboard Magazine- CD Review "The Nearness of You"
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“She has a potent voice, and her interpretive sense is sharp and distinctive. She seems to have a na...“She has a potent voice, and her interpretive sense is sharp and distinctive. She seems to have a natural feel for how to shape a lyric, and her intonation is effortlessly bluesy. Listen and you'll hear an artist who knows how to make a song her own just as surely as she knows how to make a tune swing. Henry aims right for the emotional center…one comes away believing that Henry is a jazz vocalist poised on the cusp of bigger things." - Phillip Van Vleck
Encore! Nicole Henry at Metropolitan Room
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The first time you experience the music of Nicole Henry, it's love at first sight. From then on, it'...The first time you experience the music of Nicole Henry, it's love at first sight. From then on, it's an affair to last a lifetime. With Leonard in town last weekend, I was thrilled to introduce him to this spectacular talent, whom I first saw in February, at Metropolitan Room in Chelsea.
Last month, Henry won a prestigious Bistro Award from Backstage magazine, as New York's Outstanding Jazz Vocalist. Again, last Friday, April 23, she wowed the crowd with her vocal finesse, ease and charm, and stunning beauty. Another night to remember.
Watch your back Whitney, Nicole Henry is here.
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On a recent evening, only her second major gig in Manhattan, Nicole Henry was already clearly making...On a recent evening, only her second major gig in Manhattan, Nicole Henry was already clearly making a stir. Among those in the nearly-packed house was cabaret’s uber-promoter Donald Smith, who had already invited her to this fall’s Cabaret Convention based on her recordings. He was there to check out the live performance and he could not have been disappointed.
Henry at times bears an uncanny resemblance to the young Whitney Houston, both in her statuesque, model-like looks and even in the timbre of her voice, especially the belt notes.
That being said, Nicole Henry is decidedly a jazz singer, and an original one at that. Furthermore, she’s more interesting to watch on the live stage than Ms. Houston, who often has opaque expressions.
Henry breaks no new ground in her choice of repertoire, choosing long-familiar standards to fill most of her set list. However, a singer’s ultimate goal should be to one-up the material (no mean feat with this stuff) and when she succeeds-as Henry does-we feel as if we’re hearing it for the first time.
She lays down the gauntlet with her opening song, a rousing rendition of "You’d Better Love Me" (Martin/Gray), singing "You’d better love me while I’m here, I’ve been known to disappear . . ." She wants that love from the get-go while she’s in town, and the audience gives it to her.
"With all this rain, you might need some songs about getting some action," she says with understated, wicked glee, before launching into a slow, smoldering "Teach Me Tonight." After the song, she told an anecdote about singing at a benefit for education and the arts and dedicating that song to the teachers. "What a mistake that was," she quipped to howls from the audience.
In fact, her breezy patter is unscripted, natural, and disarmingly brilliant, often improvising commentary on the day’s events or even the flowers on stage. At one point, after her musicians had played a long intro, she said, "Sorry, I’m at a loss for words, I’ve been going through some stuff."
An audience member shouted, "I love you!"
Henry quickly responded, "Thank you, I love you too. I just got kicked out of my house; can I stay at your place?"
At another point when someone shouted out a request for "At Last," she said good-naturedly, "I got an email from Etta James, she said I couldn’t sing that anymore!"
She cast a spell with her leisurely interpretation of "When I Fall in Love" and seemed to drift on air around the spare accompaniment of her trio on "Fly Me to the Moon."
An extended, energetic version of "Lover Come Back to Me", complete with punctuated gospel shouts and solo turns by her musicians, astonished the crowd.
It was a singular pleasure to appreciate her musicianship: her count-offs, her gracious introductions, and friendly rapport. All were outstanding-John DiMartino on piano and Alvester Garrett on drums-but special note must be given to bass player Richie Goods. His masterful finger-work, especially on Diana Krall’s "My Love," was a wonder to behold.
"God Bless the Child", re-imagined as a power anthem, somehow worked and the overdone "Imagine", with Henry’s pipes, still managed to make one’s hair stand on end.
With her graceful hands and arms, she often ends her songs with flourishing poses, suggesting a true diva in the making.
After a standing ovation, Henry came back for an encore. In a supreme act of bravery, she announced "I like to make people happy" and launched into "Home" (from "The Wiz"), which an audience member had requested-even though her musicians didn’t have it and were unprepared. Undaunted, she sang it a capella and eventually the musicians moved into the song.
When all was said and done, there was nothing to do but stand and cheer again.
If there is any justice in the world, Nicole Henry will have the kind of career that lasts decades. In the meantime, audiences here seem to be working hard just to get her back for extended stays.
Watch your back, Whitney!
Written by: Kevin Scott Hall
Nicole Henry- One of the best jazz vocalists lives here in South Florida
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It is little wonder this Miami-based 30-something has been getting a lot of attention since signing ...It is little wonder this Miami-based 30-something has been getting a lot of attention since signing a national distribution deal through a major label. An experienced singer who has appeared on stages in Japan and France as well as at venues like New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center, Henry is able to transcend genres by taking on both standards and more radio-friendly contemporary material, making them her own. For instance, her interpretation of "Over the Rainbow" goes into a Latin/samba direction that erases the melancholy of Harold Arlen's words, giving them a glimpse of hope and happiness. Also, her version of "At Last" has more of a bluesy feel that differs completely from Etta James' definitive rendition. On her latest disc, titled The Very Thought of You, she explores the songbooks of some of the greatest jazz composers of the 20th Century, breathing new life into tunes like the title song (made famous by Nat "King" Cole) as well as revved-up versions of Antonio Carlos Jobim's classics "Waters of March" and "All the Way." Henry has great poise and style on stage, whether backed by a simple piano trio or a big band, and her almost flawless singing is quick to capture the attention of everyone in the room.
CD Review "The Nearness of You"
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"This terrific singer makes every song sound fresh. She has a lush, sultry voice, clear articulation..."This terrific singer makes every song sound fresh. She has a lush, sultry voice, clear articulation of lyrics, and a natural swing. Sensual, romantic…her vocals are heartfelt, beautiful and genuine, offering creative innovation.”
Concert Review 2005 in Osaka, Japan
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“Nicole Henry connects to a crowd…she holds an audience in the palm of her hand. Cliché it may be, ...“Nicole Henry connects to a crowd…she holds an audience in the palm of her hand. Cliché it may be, but Henry is just the kind of vocalist who restores a cliché to its original beauty… Her energy and passion make her one of the most impressive live performers to personalize the great American Songbook. … sings from the heart, telling real stories, conveying real emotions. ...stunning!”
JazzReview.com CD Review
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“An extremely talented young singer with a unique and stirring voice…Her voice suggests the sense of...“An extremely talented young singer with a unique and stirring voice…Her voice suggests the sense of adventure and joie de vivre…a true diva.”
Miami Herald Performance Review
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“Henry’s interpretations radiate from her charm. Her stage presence along with her strong, crisp, cl...“Henry’s interpretations radiate from her charm. Her stage presence along with her strong, crisp, clear voice tuned to tug an occasional heartstring… at once graceful and powerful. “
The singer Nicole Henry takes Madrid by surprise
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Two magic evenings. This is what Madrid has experienced with the US singer Nicole Henry, of whom som...Two magic evenings. This is what Madrid has experienced with the US singer Nicole Henry, of whom some say they haven’t seen anything like her since Sarah Vaughan or Carmen McRae. Today, Monday, may be the third one, because she is starting off the last week of the Madrid Jazz Festival at the Nicolás Salmerón Cultural Center (Mantuano, 51 at 8 p.m. Free entry).
Last Friday it was at Le Swing, the exquisite, semi-cult club, and Saturday evening it was at El Junco, where it was packed and many people were unable to get inside. This Afro-American singer from Miami represents, like Obama, tomorrow’s America. She dedicated both concerts to the president elect and in both of them she was generous, powerful, elegant and natural.
Conducted by her close collaborator Mikel Orta, on both occasions she was accompanied by three regulars of the Madrid jazz circuit (Khalsa, Merlo and Martínez), with whom she had barely rehearsed. The impression, however, was as if they had been playing together all life long.
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“A diverse new voice with great range, freshness, and originality…Henry is spreading her creative wi...“A diverse new voice with great range, freshness, and originality…Henry is spreading her creative wings and she’s ready to fly.”
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"A gentle but powerful voice, pure in tone and pitch, this ingénue can wring even the most forgotten..."A gentle but powerful voice, pure in tone and pitch, this ingénue can wring even the most forgotten sentiment from a song. Nicole Henry sings with passion, style, class and charisma while exuding the star power radiating within her."
After a decade on the South Florida jazz scene, Nicole Henry is set to soar
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At first look — and listen — jazz singer Nicole Henry seems a paragon of perfection. She is tall, wi...At first look — and listen — jazz singer Nicole Henry seems a paragon of perfection. She is tall, willowy and poised, with an expansive smile that gleams like the polished skin on her beautifully sculpted body.
The voice that pours out of her is even more impressive, a burnished, honey-rich alto that can soar to gospel heights, romp with skin-tingling rhythm and drop to a heart-rending whisper, the vocal love child of Whitney Houston and Sarah Vaughan.
But when Henry switched from pop to jazz nine years ago, she had to wear black onstage because performance anxiety made her sweat so much. She is driven not only by her love of music, but by a need to make other people love it, too — to please and fulfill them.
“I always felt I existed to make other people happy and feel beauty,” Henry says, sitting on a couch in her small, meticulously ordered South Beach apartment.
“Singing was going to allow me to do what my life’s purpose is – entertaining, but also interpreting life through song, making people feel understood, making people feel heard and appreciated and loved and comforted.”
Now, however, might be Nicole Henry’s moment to be appreciated. She has performed tirelessly around South Florida for years, singing in churches, suburban jazz clubs and South Beach hotels. Her ubiquity may have obscured her steady rise on the national and international jazz scene, a trajectory that seems about to take a crucial leap.
On Aug. 22, Henry will celebrate the release of her fifth album, Embraceable, with a show at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at New York’s Lincoln Center, part of Wynton Marsalis’ famed Jazz at Lincoln Center program.
Since 2009 she has performed regularly in New York, building a following among critical jazz audiences and earning glowing reviews from, among others, the New York Times’ Stephen Holden, who called her “a proud nightclub diva who didn’t have to answer to anyone but herself” and praised her powerful voice and “freewheeling sense of play.” She tours regularly in Japan, where she has become a jazz star, and has expanded to performing in Europe.
Todd Barkan, the programming director of Dizzy’s and a veteran producer of more than 1,000 jazz recordings, says Henry is poised to join the pantheon of contemporary jazz stars such as Diana Krall and Norah Jones.
“She comes closer to being a young Sarah Vaughn than any other singer I’ve worked with,” Barkan says.
Since he produced Henry’s album Teach Me Tonight in 2005, he says, she has grown immensely.
“In the last four to five years she’s gotten more and more credibility and scope and depth as a jazz singer. She’s got every capability because of her dynamism as a performer, the depth and scope of her voice and her work ethic.”
Henry’s drive and range were apparent over a recent, typical week. One Sunday morning in mid-July, she led the choir at Unity on the Bay, a popular nondenominational church in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood where Henry has been singing and worshipping for a decade. On Friday evening she had packed Unity’s sanctuary with 800 people for a concert, and on Saturday night she had played Fort Lauderdale’s Capital Grille, known more for its steaks than its music.
If she was tired the next morning, it didn’t show. In the second of two services, 400 people swayed blissfully as Henry led the choir in the soaring spiritual ballad I Love the Lord, made famous by Whitney Houston in the movie The Preacher’s Wife, and the exuberant gospel He’s An Awesome God. Afterward, she greeted a stream of admirers, earnestly listening to and thanking each of them.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/08/13/2356360/after-a-decade-on-the-south-florida.html#storylink=cpy
A Room of Her Own, for the Right Song
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The Cole Porter standard “It’s All Right With Me” is a psychological test for any singer, especially...The Cole Porter standard “It’s All Right With Me” is a psychological test for any singer, especially a woman. The song’s ambivalent narrator, recovering from a breakup, feels “strangely attracted” to a potential new partner and gives in, despite her guilty sense that it’s the wrong time, the wrong place and the wrong face.
The title phrase can be interpreted as everything from a coy, smoldering come-on to a shout of liberation. When Nicole Henry sang it on Friday evening at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, her repeated shouts of agreement were tinged with hysteria, as if she were desperately trying to convince herself that it was “all right” to proceed.
Ms. Henry’s beauty added an extra dimension to the performance. Wearing a clinging silver-and-gold gown, smiling brightly, and tossing her head, she radiated the high-gloss glamour of a proud nightclub diva who didn’t have to answer to anyone but herself.
The obvious forerunner of Ms. Henry, who lives in Miami Beach but has cultivated a growing New York following, is the younger Natalie Cole, to whose style she adds a coating of brass. At Friday’s opening set of her two-night stand at Feinstein’s, Ms. Henry was backed by Aaron Goldberg on piano, Richie Goods on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums.
Their chunky, emphatic playing nudged Ms. Henry into a comfortable pop-jazz space in which she had room to flex her considerable voice. In up-tempo Latin-flavored jazz numbers like “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” Ms. Henry maintained a solid rhythmic footing through some tricky, fast-paced phrases.
Besides “It’s All Right With Me,” the high point of her set was the old Dusty Springfield hit “Just a Little Lovin’.” When it was over, Ms. Henry half-jokingly suggested that the song might not really be about the pleasures of wake-up sex but about remembering to love yourself during your early-morning yoga routine. She brought it up to date.
A selection of jazz & pop standards; American Songbook classics; and exciting original adult contemporary songs.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.